Hesperia, Calif. (October 19, 2008) â€“ I just got home from the final round of the season in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear Championship at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. It was a roller-coaster weekend. We held the top spot on the charts at the end of each test day leading up to Saturdayâ€™s race. However, during qualifying a balance issue came up which resulted in a fourth-place starting position. Looking at the championship, I had to win and hope my rivals didnâ€™t finish among the top three. The race started behind the pace car when the standing start was waved off due to an on track incident. Once the race went green, it soon became clear the win was not going to be possible. I pushed the car to its limit but could only cross the finish line in fourth, so my championship hopes were gone.
I tried driving around the issue the car had today, but it wasnâ€™t enough. We needed to be perfect to win with the close competition this weekend, but it was not meant to be. My engineer Rick Cameron and I worked hard and showed that we could run at the top spot during testing, but we lost balance for some reason in qualifying and the race.
Still, this season has been one to remember for me. With the help from Mazda and the MAZDASPEED Driver Development Program I was able to compete this year. The people behind the program are remarkable, and I thank them for the opportunity they gave me. Also, I was able to learn so much from Rick Cameron and the JDC Motorsports crew which allowed me to raise my performance to the next level. I also have to personally thank my sponsors for believing in me this season which include Mazda, K&N Air Filters, Mockett Company, Classic Stone Distributors, Sparco, Sportsdrink+, DreamCars, Burns Truck and Trailer, Oakley, as well as the HSUS program which was so fun to be involved in.